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Flight to the future : human factors in air traffic control
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Filetype[PDF-2.23 MB]

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  • NTL Classification:
    NTL-AVIATION-Air Traffic Control ; NTL-AVIATION-Aviation Human Factors ;
  • Abstract:
    The nation's air traffic control system is responsible for managing a complex

    mixture of air traffic from commercial, general, corporate, and military

    aviation. Despite a strong safety record, the system does suffer occasional

    serious disruption, often the result of outdated and failed equipment. When

    equipment failures occur, system safety relies on the skills of controllers and

    pilots. Under these circumstances, safety is maintained by reducing the number

    of aircraft in the air. Pressures to provide the capacity to handle a greater

    number of flights in the future and to maintain high levels of safety and

    efficiency have led to proposals to provide more reliable and powerful equipment

    and at the same time increase the level of automation in air traffic control

    facilities-that is, to use advances in technology to take over tasks that are

    currently performed by humans. Such proposals have raised concern that

    automation not compromise the safety or efficiency of the system by

    marginalizing the human controller's ability to provide the necessary backup

    when disruptions occur. The Panel on Human Factors in Air Traffic Control

    Automation was convened at the request of the Federal Aviation Administration

    (FAA) for the purposes of gaining an understanding of, and providing

    recommendations on, the human factors characteristics of the current air

    traffic control system, the national airspace system, and future automation

    alternatives in terms of the human's role in the system. The panel's charge

    divides the tasks into two phases. The first focuses on the current system and

    its development as a means to: (1) understand the complexities of and problems

    with the current air traffic control system that automation is intended to

    address; (2) describe the manner in which some levels of automation have already

    been implemented; and (3) provide a baseline of human factors knowledge as it

    relates to the functions of the air traffic controller in the system. The

    second phase is to assess future automation alternatives and the role of the

    human operator in ensuring safety and efficiency in the air traffic control

    system. This report provides the results of the panel's work during the first

    phase. The link in this record leads to the frontal material of the study,

    Flight to the Future: Human Factors in Air Traffic Control. By clicking on the

    Document Homepage button at the end of the web page, the viewer is taken to a

    page which offers ordering information for the hardcopy book of the study (384p.)

    and a link to the left to a hypertext Table of Contents from which the viewer

    can select portions to read as desired on-line.

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